Claiming that Sachin Tendulkar is widely admired in her country as in India, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday thanked the iconic cricketer for accepting the Membership of the Order of Australia.
Addressing Indian industry chambers at a meeting in New Delhi, Gillard said that the Australians admired Tendulkar for his achievements and they had come out in large numbers to see him play for one last time on Australian soil early this year.
"At the start of this year it was my pleasure to host the Australian and Indian cricket teams at my Sydney residence. The summer was a celebration of the game and of the ties it has created between our two peoples," she said.
"And many Australians gathered for what could be their final sight of Sachin Tendulkar in Tests. Tendulkar is almost as widely admired in Australia as he is here in his homeland," Gillard said.
"... we are delighted that he has accepted an honour from the Australian people, Member of the Order of Australia," she added.
Gillard on Tuesday announced while visiting a cricket clinic in New Delhi that Tendulkar would be conferred with the Membership of the Order of Australia, an honour "rarely" bestowed on non-Australians.
The 'Order of Australia' is an order of chivalry to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service. The 39-year-old Tendulkar will be awarded an AM, which is one of the six grades in the Order of Australia.
Tendulkar, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, will become only the second Indian after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and the first sportsperson from the country to get the honour.
Image: Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard (eft) applauds as girls play cricket during a clinic for disadvantaged youth conducted by cricket players from Australia at a park in New Delhi.
Photograph: B Mathur/Reuters